hem·​lock | \ ˈhem-ˌläk \

Definition of hemlock

1a : any of several poisonous herbs (such as a poison hemlock or a water hemlock) of the carrot family having finely cut leaves and small white flowers
b : a drug or lethal drink prepared from the poison hemlock
2 : any of a genus (Tsuga) of evergreen coniferous trees of the pine family also : the soft light splintery wood of a hemlock

Examples of hemlock in a Sentence

Socrates died after drinking hemlock.

Recent Examples on the Web

Or in medieval England, you were supposed to put a piece of hemlock in your sock and walk around with it. Angela Chen, The Verge, "Why we don’t have a hangover cure yet," 21 Dec. 2018 The tower will be made of precast concrete columns with branch connectors to visually tie the structure to the hemlock trees at the crash site. Emily Matchar, Smithsonian, "Building the Flight 93 Memorial’s Massive Chime Tower," 5 July 2018 Antone, who loves country music, danced with her great- grandson underneath a sculpture of a 140-year-old western hemlock tree. Erika Schultz, The Seattle Times, "Seattle great-grandmother of 20 makes it to prom," 1 July 2018 But there are baby old growth forests — offspring of the giant white pines and hemlocks that once dominated the forest skyline. Peter Marteka, courant.com, "A Hike Among Giants Worthy Of A King's Mark," 5 May 2018 Around them there seemed to be an infinite sampling of vegetation: ferns and clover and scrub and bracken giving way to maples and firs and oaks and hemlocks covered in lichen and moss. David Gilbert, The New Yorker, "Fungus," 4 June 2017 Wadsworth Falls State Park, Middletown Earlier in the century, Wadsworth bequeathed 267 acres of streams, waterfalls and hemlock forests to the state, creating the Wadsworth Falls State Park. Peter Marteka, courant.com, "Five Spots To Take Your Dog Hiking," 18 May 2018 The Hemlock Negroni—who knew hemlock was potable?—makes for a good nightcap. Elizabeth Dunn, WSJ, "A Stress-Free Summer Weekend in the Catskills," 15 June 2018 Where trees have fallen, new-growth maple, cherry and hemlock are poking through the earth. Frank Fitzpatrick, Philly.com, "Ashes of an industry: A Pennsylvania tradition is dying, one baseball bat at a time," 14 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hemlock.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hemlock

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for hemlock

Middle English hemlok, from Old English hemlic

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Statistics for hemlock

Last Updated

28 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for hemlock

The first known use of hemlock was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for hemlock



English Language Learners Definition of hemlock

: an evergreen tree with soft wood

: a type of poisonous plant that has small white flowers

: a deadly drug or drink made from this plant


hem·​lock | \ ˈhem-ˌläk \

Kids Definition of hemlock

1 : an evergreen tree related to the pine
2 : a poisonous plant with small white flowers and leaves divided into many parts


hem·​lock | \ ˈhem-ˌläk \

Medical Definition of hemlock

1a : any of several poisonous herbs (as a poison hemlock or a water hemlock) of the carrot family (Umbelliferae) having finely cut leaves and small white flowers
2 : a drug or lethal drink prepared from the poison hemlock — compare coniine

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More from Merriam-Webster on hemlock

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hemlock

Spanish Central: Translation of hemlock

Nglish: Translation of hemlock for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hemlock

Comments on hemlock

What made you want to look up hemlock? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to gather or build up little by little

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